Ralph Chaplin

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We can bring to birth a new world from the ashes of the old.

Ralph Hosea Chaplin (1887 — 1961) was an American illustrator, writer and labor organizer. He was a member of the Industrial Workers of the World.


Solidarity Forever (1915)

  • When the union's inspiration through the workers' blood shall run,
There can be no power greater anywhere beneath the sun;
Yet what force on earth is weaker than the feeble strength of one,
But the union makes us strong.
Solidarity forever,
Solidarity forever,
Solidarity forever,
For the union makes us strong.
Is there aught we hold in common with the greedy parasite,
Who would lash us into serfdom and would crush us with his might?
Is there anything left to us but to organize and fight?
For the union makes us strong.
It is we who plowed the prairies; built the cities where they trade;
Dug the mines and built the workshops, endless miles of railroad laid;
Now we stand outcast and starving midst the wonders we have made;
But the union makes us strong.
All the world that's owned by idle drones is ours and ours alone.
We have laid the wide foundations; built it skyward stone by stone.
It is ours, not to slave in, but to master and to own.
While the union makes us strong.
They have taken untold millions that they never toiled to earn,
But without our brain and muscle not a single wheel can turn.
We can break their haughty power, gain our freedom when we learn
That the union makes us strong.
In our hands is placed a power greater than their hoarded gold,
Greater than the might of armies, multiplied a thousand-fold.
We can bring to birth a new world from the ashes of the old
For the union makes us strong.

Bars and Shadows: The Prison Poems of Ralph Chaplin (1922)

  • Mourn not the dead that in the cool earth
Dust unto dust—
The calm, sweet earth that mothers all who
As all men must;
Mourn not your captive comrades who must
Too strong to strive—
Within each steel-bound coffin of a cell,
Buried alive;
But rather mourn the apathetic throng—
The cowed and the meek—
Who see the world’s great anguish and its
And dare not speak!
  • Mourn Not The Dead

Quotes about Chaplin[edit]

  • As a member of the Industrial Workers of the World, Ralph Chaplin did his part to make the organization a success. He wrote songs and poems; he made speeches; he edited the official paper, “Solidarity”. He looked about him; saw poverty, wretchedness and suffering among the workers; contrasted it with the luxury of those who owned the land and the machinery of production; studied the problem of distribution; and decided that it was possible, through the organization of the producers, to establish a more scientific, juster, more humane system of society. All this he felt, intensely. With him and his fellow-workers the task of freeing humanity from economic bondage took on the aspect of a faith, a religion. They held their meetings; wrote their literature; made their speeches and sang their song with zealous devotion. They had seen a vision; they had heard a call to duty; they were giving their lives to a cause—the emancipation of the human race.
  • The Wobbly poet and newspaperman Ralph Chaplin (author of “Solidarity Forever”) recalled being introduced to Anarchist ideas — Proudhon, Bakunin, Kropotkin, Most, etc — by an “FAS correspondent” on his way to Detroit via the box car.

External links[edit]

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